Weight-Based Victimization: Bullying Experiences of Weight Loss Treatment-Seeking Youth

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 12/2012; 131(1). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-1106
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE:Few studies have comprehensively examined weight-based victimization (WBV) in youth, despite its serious consequences for their psychosocial and physical health. Given that obese and treatment-seeking youth may be highly vulnerable to WBV and its negative consequences, the current study provides a comprehensive assessment of WBV in a weight loss treatment-seeking sample.METHODS:Adolescents (aged 14-18 years; N = 361) enrolled in 2 national weight loss camps were surveyed. An in-depth assessment of WBV was conducted by using an online survey, in which participants indicated the duration, typical locations, frequent perpetrators, and forms of WBV they had experienced.RESULTS:Findings indicate that 64% of the study participants reported WBV at school, and the risk of WBV increased with body weight. Most participants reported WBV enduring for 1 year (78%), and 36% were teased/bullied for 5 years. Peers (92%) and friends (70%) were the most commonly reported perpetrators, followed by adult perpetrators, including physical education teachers/sport coaches (42%), parents (37%), and teachers (27%). WBV was most frequently reported in the form of verbal teasing (75%-88%), relational victimization (74%-82%), cyberbullying (59%-61%), and physical aggression (33%-61%). WBV was commonly experienced in multiple locations at school.CONCLUSIONS:WBV is a prevalent experience for weight loss treatment-seeking youth, even when they are no longer overweight. Given the frequent reports of WBV from adult perpetrators in addition to peers, treatment providers and school personnel can play an important role in identifying and supporting youth who may be at risk for pervasive teasing and bullying.

1 Follower
  • Journal of clinical outcomes management: JCOM 02/2014; 21(2):87-96.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Debate concerning the social impact of obesity has been ongoing since at least the 1980s. Bioethicists, however, have been relatively silent. If obesity is addressed it tends to be in the context of resource allocation or clinical procedures such as bariatric surgery. However, prominent bioethicists Peter Singer and Dan Callahan have recently entered the obesity debate to argue that obesity is not simply a clinical or personal issue but an ethical issue with social and political consequences. This article critically examines two problematic aspects of Singer and Callahan's respective approaches. First, there is an uncritical assumption that individuals are autonomous agents responsible for health-related effects associated with food choices. In their view, individuals are obese because they choose certain foods or refrain from physical activity. However, this view alone does not justify intervention. Both Singer and Callahan recognize that individuals are free to make foolish choices so long as they do not harm others. It is at this point that the second problematic aspect arises. To interfere legitimately in the liberty of individuals, they invoke the harm principle. I contend, however, that in making this move both Singer and Callahan rely on superficial readings of public health research to amplify the harm caused by obese individuals and ignore pertinent epidemiological research on the social determinants of obesity. I argue that the mobilization of the harm principle and corresponding focus on individual behaviours without careful consideration of the empirical research is itself a form of harm that needs to be taken seriously.
    Bioethics 03/2014; 29(3). DOI:10.1111/bioe.12089 · 1.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of the current study was to identify what forms of anthropometric measurement are currently being utilized with Canadian children and youth and what are the gaps in the literature on this topic. The current study utilized a scoping review methodology in order to achieve the study objectives. Online databases Medline and PubMed and CINAHL were used to search articles from the last decade (2002-2012) that addressed Canadian children aged 2-18 years. 50 studies were included in this review. A variety of anthropometric measurements were identified, including body mass index, waist circumference, hip-to-waist ratio, among others. Six of the included studies (12%) utilized nationally representative data from large-scale studies. BMI was the most reported form of measurement with 88% of studies collecting it. Waist circumference was a distant second with 20% of studies reporting it. Several gaps in the literature exist with regards to First Nations (FN) research; many of the measurement methods were not used. Additionally, FN accounted for only 2.5% of the study's sample. The majority of studies took place in Quebec (29%) and Ontario (27%). Body mass index is the most reported method of anthropometric measurement used for children. Efforts should be taken by health care practitioners and researchers to collect other forms of measurement in order to assist in understanding the validity of other measures and their value when used with children. Furthermore, attention needs to be focused on utilizing and studying various forms of anthropometric measurement across all Canadian regions and populations.
    01/2013; 104(5):e369-74.